Crime And Cesare Beccaria's Rational Choice Theory

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Rational choice theory (RCT) assumes individuals choose to commit crime based on rational/logical thinking and calculations (maximizing profits and minimizing losses). An offender, such as a burglar, might plan to rob a home while the family is away (high profit from stealing and little chance of getting caught). To believe that this is the only reason why criminals offend is preposterous and myopic; it is only a small sliver of the basis of crime. Rational choices are implemented by offenders (sometimes), but other causes include but are not limited to: economic disparity, substance abuse, family factors, biological factors/genetic influences, mental illnesses, opportunity (easy target to hit), perceptions of the punishment (is the offender…show more content…
The theory was founded during the Age of Reason, or Enlightenment (18th century), an era in history “characterized by a critical approach to religious, social, and philosophical matters that seeks to repudiate beliefs or systems not based on or justifiable by reason” (“Age of Reason”). Some individuals no longer believed God was the answer for everything and sought to uncover the facts of the universe through logic and reasoning (hence, rational choices drive crime). RCT was a rejection of minimally traditional theist God (before the Enlightenment- a perfectly, morally, omnipotent, omniscient being who had control over his creatures unless corrupted) by stating humans have free will and can do as they please/rationally deem correct. Though this theory seems to explain some amount of crime, RCT is…show more content…
Though he was influenced by Darwin, Lombroso misunderstood his work and considered criminals evolutionary throwbacks of primitive forms (Mazzarello, 2011). Trait theory has evolved over time from Garofalo’s sociological tilt (crime is an immoral act that is injurious to society) to Enrico Ferri (focused on social and economic factors that motivate criminals) to a modern, biosocial trait theory, which theorizes each person is mentally and physically unique, does not possess equipotentiality (equal potential to learn and achieve), and has developed traits at birth or soon after that affect social functioning and affect criminal behavior. Physical, environmental, and social conditions work in concert to produce behavior. The last part of the theory states, instincts affect learning (rape or desire of males to control

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